cover image Giant Steps to Change the World

Giant Steps to Change the World

Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, illus. by Sean Qualls, Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-689-86815-3

Aiming to inspire young readers, the Lees (Please, Baby, Please) speak directly to them: "On some days your dreams may seem too far away to realize. Listen to the whispers of those that came before...." Each page contains an encouraging thought and invokes the deeds of a hero. "Press on through the darkness and keep going—the way the freedom fighter encouraged the enslaved to ride the railroad to safety so that all could be free." The reference is to Harriet Tubman; the heroes are unnamed, but quotations from (and attributions for) each appear on the endpapers, and they're easy to match up, letting the book function both as a source of inspiration and as an interactive quiz about such figures as Jesse Owens, Mother Teresa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Barack Obama. Qualls's bold, lively collages (Little Cloud and Lady Wind) handle the book's abstractions gracefully. A curly-haired boy contemplates a long stairway; intricate lines curl out of a book of Langston Hughes's poetry; a red snake represents fear. Concluding with a challenge, the Lees ask, "What's your next step going to be?" All ages. (Jan.)